Scientists in Northern Thailand’s Chiang Mai Province have begun testing to see if cannabis could be an alternative to antibiotics in commercial chickens.
Researchers found that chickens on an organic farm supplemented with cannabis had fewer cases of avian bronchitis, and their meat quality, based on amino acid profiles and lipid profiles, and tenderness, was superior.
In the north of the country, Ong-ard Panyachatiraksa, a licensed grower of medical cannabis, was brainstorming what to do with the extra leaves from the cannabis plants. His chicken brood started eating them, and he invited scientists to see what happened.
The overuse of antibiotics by commercial producers of chickens is similar to the overuse of antibiotics by people, resulting in antibiotic-resistant pathogens.
Cannabis could actually provide a different avenue of biological support, without contributing to the already widespread problem.
Chickens are healthier with cannabis
According to Chompunut Lumsangkul, assistant professor at the University’s animal and aquatic sciences department, researchers at Chiang Mai University found that cannabis could help reduce farmers’ use of antibiotics after studying 1,000 of Mr. Ong-ard’s chickens.
According to their hypothesis, cannabis could improve the gut health of chickens. Healthy, flourishing gut microbiota is crucial to staying fit for all life forms as it is one of the major mediators between the immune system and the gut.
The gut microbes, or cannabinoids, may not necessarily kill bacteria and viruses that cause salmonella or avian flu, but a healthier, fitter chicken will be able to fight them better.
CB2 receptors are found in many cells of animals and humans. In these cases, cannabidiol, or CBD, is given, which interacts with the immune system.
According to some studies, it increases protection against infection and replication of COVID-19 better than the vaccine, and it reverses the overreaction of the immune system that causes death in COVID-19 infections.
With no trace of THC or CBD in the chicken meat, the chickens that have been fed with cannabis will sell for a higher price at the farm. Chicken generally sells for 60 baht ($1.60) per kg, he said, but he could sell his chickens for double.